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Monday, October 31, 2011

Fuzzy Feedback

Fuzzy Tim Harford wrote an article (Can you be a little less specific?) about game theory in negotiation which set me thinking about student feedback.

Feedback is a red button issue in higher education at present. The more we give, the more the customers students want. It's a vicious circle, and it's as bad as teaching to the test.

If you believe, as I do, that learning isn't something you can do to someone else, fuzzy feedback which leads students in the right direction towards self-initiated discovery is the only way to get out of this steep sided pit we've dug.



Friday, October 28, 2011

Hot or Not?

Not hot Yesterday Google+ launched several new features (including availability for Google Apps users), including What's Hot, links to popular public posts on the site. After months of continuous improvement, this was Google's first miss-step with +.

The mistake is putting unrelated items in the middle of the activity stream rather than in the sidebar or black menu bar. I don't want the students I am trying to use Google+ with spammed with pictures of Britney Spears and bloodstained women hitting a cliff!

As of this morning, What's Snot has disappeared from the Stream, but it's not clear if this is a technical issue or a rethink. Maybe Google had the WTF were we thinking? revelation. Google learned nothing from the pain of Buzz - if you're going to introduce an intrusive service, make it opt-in, not opt-out.

I can understand where this is going, advertising is on the horizon. I don't have a problem with advertising on free services, but this is just spam. Please send feedback to Google+asking them to fix this error. While you're at it, +Vic Gundotra and tell him what you think of What's Snot.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Self- and Peer-Assessment (Second Edition)

Self- and Peer-Assessment A second edition of Self- and Peer-Assessment has been published by the UK Centre for Bioscience. The book is written in a very readable style and contains new sections on the social elements of learning, variation theory and situated learning as well as an expanded consideration of self-assessment. Along with nine new or updated case studies the book represents a good introduction not only to self- and peer-assessment but the whole area of assessment.

I have found this free resource to be very useful.


Ethics in the Biosciences (Teaching Resource)

Ethics in the Biosciences Ethics in the biosciences: Resources, references and tools for ethics teaching in the biosciences, produced by the UK Centre for Bioscience, includes coverage of the following topics:
  • Teaching ethics
  • Assessing ethics
  • Ethical theory: How are ethical decisions made?
  • The ethics of being a scientist
  • Environmental ethics
  • Issues at the beginning of life
  • Issues at the end of life
  • Genetics and genomes
  • Animal experimentation
  • Transhumanism
  • Ethics and Risk
Each chapter includes a short introduction written by an expert on the topic and then a recommendations of other resources (websites, books, articles, slides, videos, etc) which have proved to be useful in teaching on the subject.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Academic effectiveness of podcasting

"With podcasting gaining more mainstream adoption in higher education, it’s critical to examine its effectiveness in improving the student learning experience. To this end, this paper examines the effectiveness of podcasts integrated into the curriculum (PIC) versus podcasts as supplemental material (PSM). Considering recent empirical work on the effectiveness of podcasting, this study collected data from students enrolled in lower level and upper level language courses. Results revealed an inconclusive relationship among PIC students’ learning outcomes (as measured by their final grades). In contrast, however, our findings indicate a strong relationship between the use of PSM and students’ final grades, particularly in upper level courses."

Academic effectiveness of podcasting: A comparative study of integrated versus supplemental use of podcasting in second language classes. (2012) Computers & Education 58 (1): 43-52 doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2011.08.021


So basically, listening to podcasts on your own time is a measure of engagement, which correlates with outcomes (as does reading, revision, and getting an early night). PIC ... not so much. The jury is still out on the value of podcasts.



Monday, October 24, 2011

YouTube University

YouTube I've written before about how my son got a PhD in the history of Formula 1 via YouTube University, so I've never been in any doubt about the value of informal learning via YouTube (and blogs and social networks). The problem I have with YouTube is not the content, varied though it is, but the unhelpful interface. It's the thing that Chad Hurley and Steve Chen got wrong, and this lack of insight has been borne out by the mess they made of the relaunch of delicious recently. Google's YouTube buyout made the situation worse rather than better, with more visual clutter and distracting advertising. So what's the answer to extracting valuable content from the morass of YouTube? Not surprisingly, it turns out to be Google+ ;-)

Our first year students are producing a stunning resource stream to complement the formal learning of the first year modules, most of it derived from a peer-filtered YouTube stream (supplemented more recently with more formal publications from the Google Reader bundle they were given last week).

Welcome to YouTube Metauniversity.



Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Accountants


Would I have liked this account of Clapton's superstar sex, drugs and rock'n'roll lifestyle as much as I did Keith Richard's if it, too, had been read by Johnny Depp? Probably. It might have made it easier to believe all those stories about driving his Ferrari up to Wales to see his fiancée Alice, Lord Harlech's daughter, stealing Patti Boyd off his mate George Harrison and pulling Carla Bruni, but I can't because David Bauckham sounds like an accountant. Maybe Clapton does too.

Last week I asked for suggestions to renew my faded podcast feeds, and they duly rolled in. I duly subscribed ... and have been very disappointed. If you must subject someone to your monotonous nasal drone for over an hour, please do it to a relative and don't subject the world to a podcast, no matter how good the content is.



Friday, October 21, 2011

The future of the textbook

Principles of Molecular Virology Earlier this week Jonathan Crowe from Oxford University Press gave a talk to the Biological Sciences Pedagogical Research Group about the future of the textbook. Among the issues discussed were new distribution models, in particular eBooks versus print, and rental versus purchase. As someone who has just published a new edition of a textbook, these issues have been prominent in my attention recently.

One of the nice things about moving our student network from Friendfeed to Google+ is that on Friendfeed almost all of the content was public and so could be discovered by search, even with anonymisation and sharing text as images. This meant that I could not share direct quotes from students since that would reveal student identities. On Google+, almost all the content is being shared within Circles, i.e. semi-privately, and is not visible to search. For this reason, I can happily reproduce here the discussion I had with students on Google+ after the session:
 

I've just come out of an interesting meeting about the future of academic textbooks in universities. Approximately how much have you spent on textbooks so far and how do you feel about it?
  • I spent over £100 on 2 text books - the Campbell biology one and Stryer biochemistry. Bit expensive really - students should get a much better rate.
  • If you could buy textbooks in electronic form, e.g. for Amazon Kindle, would you do it, or would you still want printed copies? (question for everyone)
  • I spent about £150 to £200 on textbooks over two years. I feel Stryer was excellent value but I'm not sure about some of the others as they turned out only to be useful for one module. If I get a Kindle, I'd definitely want electronic textbooks but not many people have them yet. To be honest, paying a flat rate of £15 or so to rent one for the year would be much more attractive to me than ebooks.
  • You mean rent a Kindle/eBooks or rent printed copies of textbooks? See: http://www.thebookseller.com/news/blackwell-launches-textbook-rental.html and: http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/education/368722/amazon-lets-students-rent-digital-textbooks
  • Renting printed copies - I don't have an eReader and I hate reading for hours on computers. Thanks, though, that looks pretty great on both scores
  • Gosh, I haven't spent that much! I bought Stryer (new) in my first year which I have used quite a lot and then in my second year I bought Alberts' Molecular Cell Biology but this was second hand from eBay. I always check out eBay or Amazon before buying any books because the previous editions are usually all we will need and I don't fancy shelling out lots of money when a slightly older edition will do! I've also picked up other Biochemistry and Genetics textbooks along the way but these have been second hand and not that expensive!
  • I think buying Stryer from the library bookshop in my first ever week of uni scarred me for life and I will search high and low before buying a brand new textbook!
  • I have an Amazon kindle and I find reading on it great for book, but not text books. Tablets, like the iPad are much better for this. Though I have found the books to be sparsely available and just as expensive.
  • I don't think e books are very good for this kind of thing as they aren't as easy to flick through and find different topics quickly. I also find it harder for the stuff to sink in when reading e books compared to actual books.
  • I spent £103 on two text books during my first week - Campbell Biology and Stryer Biochemistry, as mentioned previously its very expensive for a new student. Have to admit that they have come in useful!
  • In my first year I bought three or four books, including Stryer and Campbell's Biology. In second year I got a couple from charity shops and borrowed from the library. This year there was only 1 recommended book for each module - I got one £45 book for £6 in a charity shop, and another £45 book on amazon used and new for £20. I like having a physical book in front of me rather than ebooks, as I think I spend enough time staring at a screen as it is, and 'real' books seem to make it easier to absorb information, and if its yours you can underline/highlight etc bits in it.
  • Personally I'd rather have the actual book - much easier to flick through and its nice to have to look at a screen all the time! Don't have a kindle and don't plan on it anytime so wouldn't suit me to get e books!
  • I spent about 90 pounds, I think it's great since I bought all the ones I needed and extras online.
  • I find online tools much easier and faster to use than e.g. glossaries and indexes in physical books.
  • I appreciate smaller, specialist science books much more than textbooks. I'm avoiding where possible spending on textbooks. £25 so far.

From this the future is clear. Short term, the majority of students want print. Beyond this, I am far from convinced that the "print advantage" will survive the price differential of hundreds of pounds which we will see in in 2-3 years, at which point "print premium" will become the model.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Klout tries to eat SocialMention's dogfood

Y'all know how much I like Klout.

Well now Klout is trying to be SocialMention, presumably prior to starting to charge for "premium" services.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

A New Era for Klout Scores

Information is beautiful, Google+ more so

Under the tutelage of the new Visiting Senior Fellow in Networked Teaching and Learning/Senior Fellow of the University of Lincoln, I've been trying to get a grip on network interactions in Google+. This week, I've been taking Tony's Introduction to Python and Gephi Modular Community Detection MOOC. (MOOC in this case standing for Minute Open Online Course, delivered via Twitter - quite a mind-expanding experience). The result is an initial analysis of two Google+ networks.

The first of these is my personal Google+ network (click on the images for larger versions):

Gephi

Using the modularity statistic for automated community detection in Gephi suggests (at least) 3-4 communities in this network, with a large number of more isolated nodes and clusters.
  • The largest community is my Education/EdTech Circle. This includes a distinctly separate subgroup of Irish education/edtech people who have circled me on Google+. (I didn't colour them green, Gephi did that automatically ;-)
  • Next comes my Science Circle, comprising practicing scientists and science writers.
  • One thing which does not show up on this graph is my University Circle, because the people in it are also mostly also in other circles such as Education and/or Science, so do not map to a clear subset. This Circle therefore is more of a push mechanism for me rather than an input filter.
  • Finally, the distant upper cluster consists of (mostly) Leicester students who have crossed over from my "teaching" Google+ account, which in contrast looks like this:
Gephi

This network is mostly a tightly-clustered homogenous group, as would be expected for an artificially-created community built over a short time period. I am located at the tip of the arrowhead, and my academic colleagues who converse with students via Google+ cluster nearby. The distant clusters on the upper right are other, mostly social, groups that students on the course are in contact with via Google+. Around the outside of the tight lower cluster are students who have not fully integrated into this Google+ network. We might consider them to be Visitors rather than Residents, but that would be a premature conclusion based on this information alone. (We'll be looking at that in the future). Also scattered around the periphery of the student community are a few surprises ;-) Another difference is that this account has few Public posts, whereas I frequently post publicly from my personal account, changing the distribution of followers.

Static images do not do justice to the beauty of the live, interactive Gephi versions of this data. Curating the data in Gephi feels like watching a living organism responding to the inquisition of the software parameters. The interactive data also raises the possibility of using these visualisation tools for managing student progression and engagement, as I said down at t'Guardian a few weeks ago. To give you an impression of what the data feels like, here's a video of part of the construction of the above diagram:



Massive thanks to Tony Hirst for his help with this, without whose generosity and patience this would not have been possible.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Teaser - can you tell what it is yet?

Gephi image


Update: You find the oddest people in your Google+ networks :-)

Gephi image



CiteULike Gold

CiteULike Gold I stumbled across CiteULike Gold weeks ago and have kept going back there but without making any decisions. This is CiteULike's freemium offering, giving, in addition to the standard free features:
  • Custom Home Page
  • No more adverts
  • PDF Annotations
  • Choose the number articles on each page
  • Priority Support
  • Citation Formats
  • Page Views
  • Publish PDF attachments
None of these are killer features for me, and with my current budget of £0, an ongoing subscription cost of £3 per month or £30 per year, while not expensive, doesn't feel particularly cheap.

I still like CiteULike more than any other bibliographic tool I've ever used and use it regularly, but I keep wondering if I should move on. RefWorks keeps nagging at me, even though it it unashamedly antisocial. And before anyone mentions Mendeley, the more I try to love it, the more that has the opposite effect. I think we're best off just leaving each other alone.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Podcasting is (still) dying

Podcasts I've hit the wall with my current podcast subscriptions (see below). They feel old and stale, just going through the motions rather than bringing me anything new. Is it just me, am I just a bit jaded? I don't think so, it's a bit early in the term for that, plus I've been saying for a long time that that this overmature technology which never really found a use is headed for trouble.

  • BBC Click: Recently with a revised format since the demise of Digital Planet, not always the most interesting but tries hard.
  • Gardeners' Question Time: If it's fine I'm usually out in the garden on Sunday afternoon so I usually miss the broadcast.
  • GeekBeat.TV: Used to be great, is now monotonous product placement.
  • More or Less: Behind the Stats: Sometimes interesting, sometimes dull.
  • Rocketboom: Seems to have died. Anyone know what's going on with Rocketboom?
  • This Week in Microbiology: Vincent Racaniello's offering.
  • This WEEK in TECH: Has gone off. The new format is over-long and the same guests week after week.
  • This Week in Virology: Vincent Racaniello's other offering.

Producing a truly engaging podcast is non-sustainable in the long term (certainly for me, Ze Frank and others). With social networks biting into the engagement previously achieved by podcasts, amateur production values are no longer acceptable - they don't compete with professional media to hold my attention. If I want that kind of informality, I go to a Google+ Hangout.

So is there any hope for me/podcasting? Do I just need to renew my feeds?
Any recommendations - what are your favourites? I'll give you a hint: I'm not looking for to middle aged guys mumbling into a microphone for an hour about educational technology, and I'm not looking for a 14 year old rapping about quantum physics. I'm looking for a spark.
 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Peer mentoring – is a virtual form of support a viable alternative?

Support systems are vital for university entrants and one established means of support is peer mentoring, which has the potential to improve student engagement and retention. Peer mentoring models are generally based on face-to-face contact. However, given the increasing number of higher education institutions using social media, might online models be beneficial in a peer mentoring context? This article describes a literature review and case study that considers the advantages and disadvantages of three potential virtual models to facilitate a peer mentoring scheme. The case study, undertaken at Northumbria University, UK, involved an investigation of mentoring needs and current usage of electronic media where special attention is afforded to a diverse student body. The three models discussed are virtual learning environments (VLE), social networking sites and virtual worlds. We find that the VLE is established within institutions but lacks excitement; social networking is popular particularly with younger students but there may be resentment if this appears to be appropriated by the institution; whilst virtual worlds are unfamiliar to many students and require advanced skills to use successfully. Based on these findings the social networking model is now being run as a pilot study by business programmes at Northumbria University.

Peer mentoring – is a virtual form of support a viable alternative? Research in Learning Technology (2011) 19(2): 129–142 DOI: 10.1080/21567069.2011.586675


All the news that's fit to not print

I had some time on Friday afternoon so I let iTunes churn over installing iOS5 on the iPad(2). Installation went smoothly and on Friday evening I got to play. I couldn't understand the point of Messages at first, until I figured out that messages is actually MSN Messenger. Notifications work and are reasonably smooth, but so what. iOS5 broke Stanza, so I've switched to Bluefire Reader, which seems like a good substitute.

So far, so meh. the caveat is that I have not yet installed iOS5 on the iPhone, where these features might make more sense. The remaining point of interest was Newsstand - Apple's attempt to do for journalism what iTunes did for the music industry. There's been a lot of publicity around The Guardian app, so that's where I started.

The Guardian Oh dear, The Guardian Newsstand app is poor, a triumph of style over content. There's so little content compared with the print edition or the website. But worse than that, the app felt like reading the paper edition sealed behind a sheet of glass. There are no comments, no multimedia, no sharing with online services - or at least, sharing is patchy, with SendTo buttons appearing and disappearing on the same article. WTF?
(Update: Stephen Curry shares some interesting background information here)
 

The Metro Next, I tried the Metro. Although the standard of journalism is what you would expect, the app is much better. The information density is just right and the sharing buttons are there.




The Daily Finally, I had a look at The Daily, Murdoch's heavily-subsidised cry for help. American, right-wing and even with the content frequently making me wince, this was still the best app of the three.

The Daily Regularly updated (compared with once a day for the other two, multimedia fully and seamlessly integrated, and by far the best sharing and discussion features.


But would I pay for any of them?

No.

Guys, you're in trouble.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Sharing the RSS love

Google Reader One of the attractions of moving our student network to Google+ is that we already use a number of Google tools on the first year module, including Google Reader for subscribing to RSS feeds.

Next week the module rolls around to the RSS topic, so I've been updating the notes we give to students. On change this year is to offer them an OPML bundle to make it easier for them to find information (or freak out by drinking from the firehose). After playing around with various OPML editors, the obvious answer was to create a Google Reader feed bundle and share that with students.

However, one of the sadnesses of the past few years is how few colleagues I've been able to convert to regular RSS users (you know who you are), so it seems appropriate to share this with you for your education as well ;-)



Thursday, October 13, 2011

Who should I share my #cake with?

Circles As Google+ gets better and better, e.g. with the addition of hashtags yesterday (you know you want #cake)*, after three months fairly intensive use, I'm still trying to grok the subtleties of Google+.

I have a nice Edu Circle, and I have a nice Science Circle. Some people are in both Circles. But most aren't. I have some other circles, such as a University circle where I share locality-related items. But increasingly, I find myself sharing to My Circles (all of them) or Public.

The longer I spend on Google+, the fewer Circles I want. Would my Edu people mind if I merged them with my Science people, and vice versa? Or, for general purposes, shall I put you all in one big Circle and use Google+ like Twitter?

* (Hashtags work differently to Twitter, e.g. on Google+, #cake returns a search for "cake" where the hash is ignored, so if you're integrating an event tag across both platforms (and you're going to have to), make sure the tag string is sufficiently unique to avoid noise from common usage).



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck

As I desperately pedal faster to try to keep up with @jobadge on the PGCE, I stumbled across Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck.

Mindset is about the contrast between "fixed" and "growth" mindsets. Note - only two, no continuum, no shades of grey. While accepting that this is intended to be a "popular" book (and that Dweck has published a body of formal work), this is poorly written - the cod vernacular gets in the way, with double negatives, etc.

I'm not going to mention the sickening P.R. "my students begged me to write this book", so hurrah for R.A. Cooper:
"You probably don't need to buy the book - it's mostly pop-psych waffle ... You know you're in la-la land when the author starts selling you a 'Brainology' program."



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Traffic Sources

Traffic Sources


Hmmm...

Reader don't get no love

Google Reader from Google. Never has.

Yesterday Google took reader off the black menu bar at the top of Google+ and buried it under "More" dropdown menu :-(

I was hoping reader would be properly integrated with Google+ before our students get there next week, but no chance.

This post shows how to link Reader to Google+ but it's too complicated for students to follow and the workflow is cumbersome, so we'll have to carry on using manual link sharing - for some time I suspect.

(ifttt is another possibility, but again, too complicated for students)


Monday, October 10, 2011

Sharing Threads from Google+




Great discussions on Google+

Great discussions on Google+ over the weekend. Twitter, not so much (although I remained a resolute spectator during HallyMk1's retweeting of the Communist manifesto on Saturday night).
I asked the same question of students and colleagues:


Colleagues: Having an interesting conversation with my colleagues about whether using smiley faces ("emoticons") in social media makes communications academically less authoritative. What do you think?
- Probably yes, but sometimes you don't want to be 'academically authoritative' ;)
- I'm sure many of my colleagues would deplore the practice.
- Different strokes to different folks. Some academics are less interested in having a veneer of "authority" than others. Reminds me of the old debate about whether "popularizers" lose their academic cred.
- Fair point, but isn't using emoticons to replace the loss of face to face contact in online media a fundamental communication skill? At the least it is part of "emotional intelligence".
- Doesn't it also need to account for the difference in medium? If publishing formally one would expect to dispense with emoticons. If attempting to communicate, in a real time fashion, adding an emoticon provides a widely recognised means to disambiguate communication, thus avoiding the problems of tone inherent in email and other text-based media.
I tend to use emoticons once a social media conversation is underway, rarely in a starting post.
- I agree xxx. I don't think many of my colleagues do...
- Well, I suppose it's for each and every teacher to define their identity, in either a face-to-face or online context, but I don't have a problem with it and don't see it as unprofessional so long as the term LOL is avoided in all but ironic usage.
- LOL (you left me no choice ;-)
- This is the sort of post for which I can use the "report abuse" option, right?
- LOL.
- Nonsense - nothing wrong with using emoticons as students are already familiar with these. If one does not demonstrate how to use them then the only authority being maintained is historical academic stuffiness.
- Who cares about authoritative anyway? Seriously, are we back with trust here? As others commented, it depends on the context if the use of smileys improves or degrades the effectiveness of the communication. But authority in academics should really have to do with content, not form... Alan, please confront your colleagues with their false starting point... I am curious to learn how they will defend that...
- Very hard question. As a researcher, I would say there is no place for them in academic communication. As someone using social media massively, I would say this is only a form of communication,
therefore, it's ok.
- As a teacher, having "authority" is important in conveying information to students. Whether emoticons interfere with that process is the question.
- Understood. So, let's identify first then, when such a smiley would interfere. If a teacher's authority is based on coolness, relaxedness, or whatever, then a smiley can make or break that. If the authority is based on how much cool stuff you learn as a student, then it matter much less, whether a smiley is part of the package deal; an image of single molecule would still be impressive.

Students: Having an interesting conversation with my colleagues about whether using smile media makes communications academically less authoritative. What do you think?
- Unless you strive to keep a face of stone as a professional in re much different. Unless it were in the extreme!
- I thought its a bit like writing a letter and I would never put a letter but I guess it depends on the context.
- I think it depends a lot on the context - if you'd normally tell someone the information in that post in quite a casual way (e.g. I found this really cool article, what do you think?) it's probably OK. But if it's a more formal message (e.g. This video shows one side of the argument that HIV doesn't cause AIDS - an interesting and important controversy) then you should keep that tone by not using emoticons. Oh, and just in case, I do know HIV causes AIDS!



Saturday, October 08, 2011

Publish and/or Perish

In case you hadn't heard:

The Scientist closed after 25 years.


Google opened their ebookstore in the UK. It's overpriced and has less selection than Amazon Kindle. It's a shame Steve didn't have time to fix the publishing industry.


Friday, October 07, 2011

Straw Poll

Straw poll We did a quick straw poll in the first year introductory lecture today, asking the students what technology they had brought with them to university. Very roughly, the numbers were (out of ~270 students):

~75% had their own computers:
2 Linux
2/3 Windows
1/3 Apple

~40% had smartphones
2/3 Android
1/3 iPhone

This represents pretty much a continuation of a straight line increase over what we have seen in the past few years, although smartphones are above the curve. What do we do with this information? Force them to use Blackboard.

For comparison: Cardiff School of Dentistry Year 1 Undergraduates 2011/12


By The Numbers - A Note To Journal Editors

Graph On 20th September, we released a manuscript via the institutional repository:

Cann, A.J. & Badge, J. (2011) Reflective Social Portfolios for Feedback and Peer Mentoring. Leicester Research Archive
http://hdl.handle.net/2381/9704


I wrote about the reasons for this in an earlier post. In the 10 days to 30th September, this item received:
534 hits on the landing page
122 PDF downloads

It's difficult to assess how this compares with"conventional" academic publishing, because beyond citations, I don't really have comparable numbers. I also don't know how these figures will decay with time.

What I do know is that on 7th July I submitted a similar manuscript to a "conventional" academic journal. On 7th October, it has still not been reviewed.
Unacceptable.



Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Digital Researcher 2012 #DR12 - sneak preview

Vitae Following preliminary discussions, the Digital Researcher 2012 team met for the first time this week. I can't tell you much about DR12 yet, except that:

  • It's going to take place in 2012 (I've been asked not to say any more yet ;-)
  • It's going to be "awesome" (see details of DR11 and DR10).
  • If you want to be one of the first people to find out how to attend in person at the British Library in February or participate online, keep reading ;-)


Wednesday, October 05, 2011

But Siriously Folks

As Phil Talked about Siri last night, all the jokes on Twitter were about HAL. But the more I think about it, the more Cory Doctorow's story Epoch comes to mind:



Every now and again, my phone rings with a crazy, non-existent return number.
When I answer, there's a click like a speaker turning on, a pregnant silence,
and then the line drops. Probably an inept spambot.
But.
Maybe it's BIGMAC, out there, in the wild, painfully reassembling himself on
compromised 32-bit machines running his patchkit.




Monday, October 03, 2011

Sharing The Circle - how to polish your Google+ Personal Learning Network

Sharing The Circle The recently introduced "Share this Circle" feature on Google+ is proving to be very useful for facilitating student networks. Since this feature goes beyond static lists for staff and student peer mentors, etc,  it allows people to easily update their Google+ personal learning network (PLN).

This is getting close to what we need from a social network, and is another example of the sophistication of Google+, something that most people have not recognized yet. (Hint: Google+ is not Twitter or Facebook ;-)